Creativity runs in Ahmed Ali Butt’s blood – he is, after all, the grandson of the legendary Madam Noor Jehan and the son of the famed Zille Huma. Over the years, Ahmed has carved a unique identity for himself – as a rapper/musician who once helmed the popular band Entity Paradigm, a comic whose humour breathes life into award ceremonies and events and more recently, as an actor who can deliver back-to-back hits at the box office. A man who wears many hats and wears them exceptionally well, he is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating in real life. In an exclusive tête-à-tête with DESTINATIONS, Ahmed Ali Butt reveals why he’s looking forward to his next release, JPNA 2, what makes him a ‘Selfie King’, and who his real-life heroes are (HINT: He’s married to her).
Actor, singer, host… who is Ahmed Ali Butt?
To be honest I’m still trying to find that out myself. All I know is that I am a man who loves more than one form of creative expression. Hence, I get to do so much with so many creative and inspiring people.
How did you venture into the world of entertainment?
I always knew that I would do something creative in my life and from a very young age, I was into dramatics and music. My family was a major influence, as the arts were a part of my daily life growing up. My first love was theatre since school days and then in college I took it to a more professional level by forming my own theatre company and my band went along with it.
Tell us about your experience working in some Pakistan’s biggest blockbusters of recent times, namely Jawani Phir Nahin Ani and Punjab Nahin Jaungi. What should your fans expect from the upcoming JPNA 2?
To be honest we didn’t know Jawani Phir Nahi Ani would be this BIG. We went out to make a fun entertainer and hoped that it would do good business. Allah blessed us immensely and both JPNA and Punjab Nahin Jaungi became blockbusters. It’s a very challenging and slow process to make a film and you really need to be passionate about your work which all of us are. JPNA 2 will be everything that an Eid film should be – which is a mega family entertainer and more. All I can say is that you have seen nothing yet!
We’ve learned that you’ve collaborated with Arif Lohar for the JPNA 2 title track. Tell us about the experience.
Working with Arif Lohar bhai was a dream come true and yet a big challenge also. After I finished the first JPNA title track, I wanted to do something in Punjabi rap and I always knew I wanted to work with Arif Lohar bhai. Even back in my EP days, I wanted to collaborate with him but it never happened. This time around it took me almost 6 months to get him to the studios as both of us were busy in other projects. Luckily he loved the track and we ended up doing it together. He is a massive singer with a huge voice and the song needed his special touch.
How would you define your style?
My style is as impulsive as my performance. My wife always says, “you’re a doer… not a thinker” – I guess she is right. I love to do things which click to me without thinking too much about it. If I feel something is creative and inspirational, I jump in. If you meant my style in clothes that would be casual smart. I love t-shirts and jeans, and my wife has brought the ‘smart’ element in my life. So yeah, jackets and nice shirts too.
You’re known to be a multitalented star but do you have any secret talent that we don’t know?
Yes! I do have a secret talent and why would I tell you what it is? (laughs)
Amongst the many talents for which you are known, you have also earned the title of ‘Selfie King.’ What is the story behind your love for selfies?
Haha! Yeah, I didn’t plan on that. It just happened and I do take the best selfies no doubt! But my love for that (selfies) is because I think it’s the best way to document your life. I meet famous and creative people all the time, and I am blessed to work with them, so why not document my experiences through a selfie?! We live in a digital age where everything is online, yet I try to keep my work life public and my family life private.
What does an average day in the life of Ahmed Ali Butt look like? Tell us about yourself as a husband and father to Azaan Ali Butt?
My average days are the most exciting ones as I am with my son and he is a full-time job. My wife is the real hero of this story as she holds down the fort when I’m working or travelling. So whenever I am home I try to be as involved as possible. Being a wife to an actor is not an easy job and I am blessed as Fatima really supports me in every way. I always take her advice in my work and even if I don’t like it at times, she breaks it down for me. Like I say to her, she is raising two kids at the same time. So yes, she is the real wonder woman of my life!
What is in the pipeline for Ahmed Ali Butt? Where do we see you next?
After hosting the Hum Awards in Canada and getting done with JPNA 2 promotions, I start work on my next film with Asim Raza and I am looking forward to that! I can’t say much about it at the moment but you will know more soon. Also I am working on making my own film, which I start next year.
Rapid Fire with Ahmed Ali Butt
Humayun Saeed! This (JPNA 2) will be our third film together.
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani or Punjab Nahi Jaungi, the film you enjoyed the most?
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani as it was my first film so it will always hold a special place in my life.
Where would you go if you were invisible?
In the editing room and scare the hell out of Nadeem Baig.
What fashion trend do you just not get?
Padded shoulders and bad hair cuts.
Any pet peeves?
Any guilty pleasure?
What is the last thing you Googled?
The release date for The Rock’s wireless headphones.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
Rick and Morty.
If you were stranded on a tropical island, what two things would you want with you?
A prayer mat and my laptop.
If you where running for public office what would your campaign slogan be?
Nahi kerna ab mulk ko kharaab…
Vote for Butt Saab
Vote for Butt Saab
What compliment(s) do people give you the most?
“Aap screen per tu bohot funny hain but real life main itnay serious kyun hain?”
What word would you add to the dictionary if you could; what would it mean?
Shapoooka! (which signifies that a person deserves a compliment).
Coffee or tea?
Both, depending on what time it is.